Saturday, 3 August 2019

Returning Japanese

It's been a while since my last post. Sorry about that, but those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that, at the beginning of July, I spent the better part of two weeks in Japan. What does this have to do with wargaming? Not much, but more than you think.

Japan has basically no domestic wargaming industry. Board games, trading card games and even traditional pen and roleplaying is popular, but Japan doesn't really produce any wargames of its own.

That said, model kits are extremely popular and very widely available. Most notably, the huge range of kits based on the various Gundam anime series. My brother and I stopped in at Gundam Base on the Island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay. For enthusiasts of the Gunpla hobby (a portmanteau of Gundam and Play) this was like Warhammer World.

There were huge displays of custom built kits

An exhibition about Gundam kit manufacture including a model of the factory that produces them.

Areas for building and painting workshops, including competition winners.

And an enormous shop selling a huge range of kits from brand new exclusives to kits first produced in the 1970s. It was as Warhammer World start selling every Games Workshop model every produced since the 1980s.

There was even a small range of kits made from reclaimed plastic from sprues. Games Workshop, take note.

The highlight of any trip to Odaiba, though is the enormous, life-sized statue of the Gundam Unicorn robot that stands outside the shopping mall. It's like plonking a life-sized Imperial Knight outside a shopping centre in Nottingham.

Despite the scale of the domestic plastic kit industry, Games Workshop did have a bit of a presence in Japan. I found displays of models in a number of different shops, primarily in the Nerd mecha areas of Akihabara and Nakano in Tokyo.

We even visited the Osaka Warhammer store in Namba.

While I was there I managed to pick up a box of Space Marine Heroes series 2. For anyone unfamiliar with these, they were a range of Space Marine models sold individually and randomly in boxes. At first they were a Japanese exclusive, before getting a release elsewhere, essentially because everyone complained.

Series 2 are not over here yet and, this time, they are all Terminators. Warhammer Osaka was selling the individually and in complete boxes of six, which guarantees you all six designs. Both my brother and I snapped up a box, which prompted me to film my first ever unboxing video, now available on YouTube.

Apologies for any quality issues. My camera is quite good at auto-focusing, but for some reason it didn't like Captain Donato's card. So here are the images of it below.

Anyway, it was a great trip, not only for wargaming reasons. More posts soon, hopefully.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Shadow War Campaign Final Mission Part Three

When we last left the Shadow War Campaign Final Mission, the Sisters of Battle had taken the lead having captured their primary objective and carried it off the table via their deployment zone.

Part one, covering the mission and deployment is here.

Part two is here.

When we left things in Part Three, the Sisters of Battle had just carried their Primary Objective off the table, securing them 3 victory points. As they were in second position on the leader board, that meant any other Kill Team than the Orks needed 4 Victory Points to beat them and win the campaign.

Enough Orks had recovered to try and drag their primary objective, the Doomsday Device, back towards the table edge.

But they were now coming under attack from Blood Angel Scouts and Tau, both of whom needed to go through the Orks to get their own objectives and both of whom needed to stop the Orks if they were going to win the campaign.

But despite the heavy attack, the Orks kept struggling on.

Meanwhile, having lost the Data Bank that was their primary objective, the Chaos Marines started moving towards the centre in the hope of claiming Victory Points elsewhere. And the Sisters were not resting on the laurels. Grabbing one more piece of Archeotech would cement their victory.

The Dark Eldar had broken away from the Tau and, with their high speed, were certain to make it to the table edge.

With their primary objective lost, the Tau turned their guns on the Orks. Their slim chance of a victory depended on securing all four remaining objectives. But just as they really started to focus, their shooting failed. A series of utterly appalling rolls meant that even it point blank range they missed, or if they didn't miss failed to wound or if they wounded the Orks made some truly ridiculous saving throws. The Orks were being pinned, but still dragging their objective inch by inch to the table edge.

On the far side, the Sisters of Battle Seraphim had seized a second objective, while the rest of the Kill Team tried to surpress the Chaos Marines with supporting fire.

But they had reckoned without the Dark Eldar. With their primary objective secure, the Succubus and Homunculus saw an opportunity to take another victory point and steal victory from the Sisters.

The Orks were inches from victory and the last few survivors desperately tried to fend off the Tau, whose shooting had not improved. At the same time, the Blood Angel Scouts were still trying to take their primary objective.

The Succubus charged the Seraphim, who had little chance against her in hand to hand combat. Meanwhile, the Chaos Space Marines were closing in on the surviving Sisters from behind.

But the Chaos Marines were not about to surrender a piece of archeotech to the Dark Eldar and they turned all their firepower on the Succubus.

But all this was, ultimately, a sideshow, because on the near side, Trukk the last Ork still standing, dragged the Doomsday Device over the line, giving the Orks 3 victory points. As they were at the top of the leader board, any other team needed 4 victory points to beat them.

The Blood Angels, Dark Eldar and Chaos Marines fought over the one of the remaining pieces of archeotech...

...and the Tau secured another piece of archeotech, which happened to be the Blood Angels primary objective.

The rest of the Tau positioned themselves to prevent the remaining scouts from trying to take it back.

Had they managed to take another piece of archeotech, the Dark Eldar could have won the campaign. But it was not to be. The Chaos Marines had taken one from the Succubus and the Tau took the last.

At this point, I brought the mission to an end. The Tau and Chaos Marines could have fought over the remaining objectives still on the table, but it would have been a fight for fourth place and Sunday evening was drawing in.

The scenario and the campaign had a winner. The Orks, Sisters of Battle and Dark Eldar had managed to carry their primary objective off the table, each winning 3 Victory Points. With a three-way tie, the campaign was decided by the campaign leader board, which, at the end of round 5 stood as follows:

Kill Team
Data Caches
Team Rating
Adeptus Sororitas
Dark Eldar
Space Marine Scouts
Chaos Space Marines

All three teams were equal on data caches, but the Win-loss ratio was the clear decider. The Orks had secured a lucky victory, as they had throughout the campaign, but a lucky win was still a win and the victors took their place on the podium.

The Final Mission was over, the campaign complete. But I still have one last post planned. Come back soon for the Shadow War Campaign Debriefing.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Shadow War Campaign Final Mission Part Two

Part Two of my report on the final mission of my Shadow War Campaign. Part One, covering the mission rules and deployment is here.

The Orks took the first turn and advanced quickly, swarming over the archeotech.

The Sisters of Battle advanced more cautiously, sending out a scout ahead while the rest followed on.

At the end of turn 1, the Dark Eldar and Blood Angels arrived, deploying on opposite sides on the far left and near right.

The Dark Eldar quickly found themselves under heavy fire from the Orks.

While the Sisters broke off part of their forces to pursue this new threat.

The Orks had seized much of the archeotech, but were now under heavy fire from all sides.

And at the end of the turn the Chaos Space Marines and Tau arrived.

The Sisters poured fire on to the Chaos Marines, doing no damage but keeping them pinned.

Meanwhile, the Seraphim seized their primary objective.

Despite being delayed by the Sisters and Orks, the Dark Eldar continued their advance.

While on the left, the firefight between the Orks and Tau was developing in the Tau's favour.

The Dark Eldar started to push through to the centre.

The Orks still had much of the Archeotech, but struggle to move it under fire from the Tau, Blood Angels and Dark Eldar.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the field, both the Chaos Marines and Sisters of Battle were pursuing the same objective. Most of the Sisters Kill-Team provided covering fire, while the Seraphim handed off the Data Bank to Sister's Ursula and Beatrice. The Sisters had little luck overcoming the Chaos Marines high toughness and armour, but while they were all pinned they couldn't advance.

Enough Orks had been taken down or out of action that the Dark Eldar were able to seize their primary objective, the weapons cache, and start to make progress towards their deployment zone.

The Tau were in difficulty. Their primary objective was the same as the Dark Eldar and they needed to move at top speed to get it, but they had to go through the remnants of the Orks to get it.

I hadn't considered, when planning this scenario, that the Shadow War rules require you to shoot at the nearest target unless a more distant target is easier to hit. This meant the Tau couldn't prioritise the Dark Eldar over the nearer Orks, even though killing Orks didn't help them achieve their primary goal.

But by the end of turn 5, enough Orks had recovered to make a decent go at recovering the Doomsday Device. They might not be able to take the bulk of the archeotech as they had hoped, but they could still achieve their primary objective. The Blood Angels and Dark Eldar had also secure their primary objectives, but were struggling to move them under heavy fire.

But it was the Sisters of Battle who would take the lead, carrying their primary objective off the battlefield first. Because they were second on the leader board, this meant that any Kill Team other than the Orks would need 4 Victory Points to beat them and win the campaign.

And that seems as good a place as any to take a break. We'll see how the other teams got on trying to catch the Sisters in part 3.